The Business Matrix: Saturday 8 December 2012


Aston Martin's Italian job

Italian private-equity fund Investindustrial has snapped up a 37.5 per cent stake in James Bond's favourite carmaker, Aston Martin, for €190m (£154m). It beat off competition from Indian car group Mahindra & Mahindra to secure the deal, which will help finance more than €625m of investment planned for the next five years.

Staff 'still being forced to mis-sell'

Mis-selling scandals have failed to stop banks pressurising their staff into pushing products which may be unsuitable, Which? claims. Two-thirds of staff with sales targets said they are facing more pressure than ever to hit them and almost half know colleagues who have mis-sold products to meet their goals, the consumer group found.

Photo-Me aims to clean up in public

Not all of us like airing our dirty laundry in public – except Photo-Me International that is, which is planning to roll out coin-operated washing machines in car parks and shopping centres across the UK. The company said it is looking for sites to install Philippe Starck-designed machines after successful trials in France and Germany.

Blue Inc growth creates 500 jobs

Blue Inc, the menswear retailer backed by Sir Stuart Rose, the former boss of Marks & Spencer, is to create 500 jobs next year, as it steps up its expansion in the UK and overseas. The 205-store chain plans to open 20 shops in the UK, which will account for the majority of the new jobs, plus a further 18 shops overseas.

Bluewater set for giant expansion

Plans have been submitted for a giant extension to Kent's Bluewater shopping centre. Lend Lease, the manager and part-owner, wants to build a 330,000sq ft extension to create Bluewater's West Village, resulting in one of the largest shopping centres in the UK and creating up to 2,300 jobs for the Greenhithe area.

Germany slipping into recession

Germany's Bundesbank said there are "indications" the country's economy will slip into recession during the final quarter of 2012 and continue to fall in the first three months of next year. It added that Germany was being dragged down by weakness in the rest of the single-currency bloc.

US jobs data defies Hurricane Sandy

The American labour market improved in November, defying gloomy expectations after Hurricane Sandy, with the economy adding 176,000 non-farm jobs last month. But the main street was still feeling far from upbeat as consumer confidence plunged in early December.

Comet stores' final weekend of trade

More than 50 Comet stores are to trade for their final weekend as hopes of a rescue deal for the stricken consumer electronics chain fade. Sales offering at least 50 per cent off products, except televisions and laptops, have been launched at 54 stores closing by early next week.

US firm in £175m deal for Aurum

Aurum, the group behind the Goldsmiths and Mappin & Webb retail jewellery chains, has been sold to Apollo Global, a US private-equity firm, in a deal worth £175m, including debt. Don McCarthy will step down after the deal is completed in January.

Glencore wins Viterra approval

Glencore's $6.2bn takeover of Viterra, Canada's largest grain handler, has received regulatory approval nine months after the deal was announced. Approval from China's Ministry of Commerce will allow for the takeover to be completed by 17 December.